N. Korean boats continue to be found in S. Korean waters

Carrie Balle, July 16, 2019, 9:13 a.m.

The Navy found another North Korean ghost ship adrift in waters south of the Northern Limit Line in the East Sea on Monday. Three other wooden trawlers were found on July 13 and one on July 12.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said one unmanned wooden boat was spotted 1.1 km north of the NLL in the East Sea around 1:20 a.m. on July 13, and it drifted south of the de-facto maritime border an hour later. Two Navy speed boats were dispatched to the scene.

The same day, a Navy helicopter and a P-3C maritime patrol aircraft spotted a North Korean boat in waters 13 km north of Ulleung Island and another in waters 64 km north of the island.

"We destroyed them on the spot after we found nothing suspicious as it was difficult to tow them and there was a risk that they could collide with South Korean fishing boats if they were left intact," a JCS spokesman said.

The one found on Monday will be taken care of once it has been fully inspected.

A total of 16 unmanned boats from the North have been found adrift in South Korean waters in the East and West seas since January this year.

More alarmingly, 380 manned North Korean trawlers were found fishing illegally south of the NLL and sent back between May 31 and July 14, compared to just 40 during the same period last year.

They mostly sail south to catch squid in season.

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